Bridgedeck lifted and fitted

Building a boat is a series of milestones. Some, such as turn-over day, bring about a sizemic change in the working environment. This week we lifted and fitted the lower bridgedeck and once again our world has changed.

It took us two days to prepare for the lift. First we jacked it up for a dry fit and to rehearse the final lift. While it was up we scribed the positions of the frames, and made a minor adjustment to the fore-aft alignment of the hulls. We also removed the scafold from beneath and pushed our trailer below frame five. We used a hydraulic scissor-lift positioned on the trailer, to lift the deck. This worked excellently, and the trailer provided a safe zone for Peter to work, in case the whole lot came down. We estimated the weight of the deck to be around 150 kilos, so every manoever was carefully discussed to ensure that neither of us was ever at risk. The forward and aft ends were held up by support struts on bearers.

The primary consideration was ensuring the final lift would happen as quickly as possible. It was our biggest glue lay-up to date, around 24 metres in total, and once we activated the glue, we had 40 minutes to butter the joints and screw everything into place, before it went off. We also drilled all the screw holes and pre-loaded them with the 200 screws, ready to go.

Lift day was scheduled for 10am on Wednesday, and Russell and Jody kindly offered to help.  We mixed four pots of epoxy, thickened with West System 403 filler, and set about laying it out. This is a critical structural lay-up and we did not skimp, applying it thick enough to ensure plenty of excess ooze, a visual confirmation of full glue coverage.

All went smoothly and 30 minutes later the job was done. Pete and Deb then spent the next hour cleaning up the excess glue and re-purposing it, filling screw holes and filleting the frames. We then took ourselves to the local bakery for a celebratory pie and coffee, before returning to tidy up the work site and disassemble the support scaffolding that was no longer needed. We left the supports in for 48 hours as the glue set.

In the following two days, Deb finished up fiberglassing the external face of frame nine, that is exposed to occasional wind blown rain from the NE. Pete started cutting out the internal frames that are no longer needed, and preparing for fitting the flooring. The plans do not specify the height of the floor as there is a certain amount of leeway for personal preferences. We opted for maximum head room, so set it as low as we could, while still ensuring a single level along the main accomodation cabins.

Lifting the deck for dry fit. The trailer provided a safety zone for Pete, who can be seen working underneath, pumping the hydraulic lift.
Lifted for dry-fit. The bridge-deck is the final step in aligning the hulls. As it is built perfectly square, any fore-aft difference will become apparent, and adjustments can be made prior to fixing off.
Prepping the glue surface on frame five.
Russ and Jo, invaluable help with the big job.
Russ had this hydraulic lift in the workshop. Worked a treat lifting the deck.
Port sleeping cabin.
Starboard hull with non-structural frames cut away. This is the galley area.
Supports were removed on Friday and the deck didn’t fall down. Success!
Deb fibreglassed the external face of frame nine…
…then began prepping frame three for a layer of glass.
Saloon and cockpit. Port outboard well can be seen lower left. This will be covered with a hinged cockpit seat.
View from below.

4 thoughts on “Bridgedeck lifted and fitted

    • Hi Jig. Yeah, this was the last of the big bits for a while. Now that we are inside everything is fiddly and time consuming. As for the neatness- well at the risk of political incorrectness- it helps that there are two of us, and Deb does a lot of tidying. Also, as she is doing most of the resin work, she is more methodical and neat than me. Hope all is well over the pond, must be summer there, so some good weather for boat work?

      Liked by 1 person

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